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Minnesota National Guard
Fly the Flag program reaches milestone

COB BASRA, Iraq " "When I took on this program I never thought it would be this popular," said 2nd Lt Kenneth Toole of the Red Bull Visitors' Bureau "But when I am out there flying flags, it's not just an American Flag that I am flying  I am doing something for someone else"

"Popular" is quite an understatement The RBVB proudly flew their 3,000th flag over Contingency Operating Base Basra Dec 18, as part of the "Fly the Flag" program One of the flags was flown and presented to members of Serving Our Troops, an organization that recently hosted steak dinners in St Paul, Kuwait and COB Basra for Soldiers and their families 

Day after day, Toole and other members of the RBVB tote dozens of Star Spangled Banners out to the flagpole at the entrance to the MND-S Division Headquarters building 

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There, they diligently raise, properly salute, lower and carefully fold each and every flag, while passing foot traffic snaps to attention and silently pauses to pay tribute to Old Glory

Imagine doing that 238 times in one day, as the RBVB did Sept 11  During their busy days, some people might not have the patience or desire to complete such a task, but the Soldiers who volunteer their time to fly the flag have a different perspective

"Someone is going to give that flag as a gift To give a flag that has been flown over here means something to the person that has taken the time to buy the flag and bring it in," said Toole "It is a true gift from the heart"        

Toole, who was touched by photos of someone who received a flag he flew with tears in her eyes, understands how much of an impact this simple gesture can have 
       
"This program isn't just about the flags," explained Toole
"It's about doing something for someone else and being part of something bigger  In ten years people will have forgotten many of the projects we built or some of the tasks we completed  But for generations to come those flags that were flown here will still be displayed in someone's house or in an office and forever will they say that they were flown over COB Basra Iraq by the Soldiers of the 34th "˜Red Bull' Infantry Division during their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom"

"The program has been a great success and it has been an honor to fly the flags over Basra, however, as with all things it too will come to an end," Toole stated

The last day flags will be flown for the program is Jan 2, 2010  It is estimated that by that time the RBVB will have flown over 3,500 flags, a number that exceeds Toole's goal of 1,000

By Spc Stephanie Cassinos, MND-S
Dec 29, 2009


Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00539



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Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season

Posted: 2017-03-24  10:19 AM
Controlled burn CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.

"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."

As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program

Posted: 2017-03-23  09:46 AM
Pfc Trevor Nelson DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.

"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."

Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.



Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



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